China firm to take wheel of Italian tire maker Pirelli

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SHANGHAI: A Chinese state firm has agreed to buy just over a quarter of Italian tire maker Pirelli, renowned for its Formula One equipment and racy calendars, in a deal that will lead to a takeover bid.

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Pirelli’s largest shareholder Camfin said on Sunday that it had signed a deal with state-owned chemical giant ChemChina to create a “long-term industrial partnership” for the tire firm.

ChemChina confirmed it had agreed to pay 15 euros ($16) per share for Camfin’s 26.2 percent stake in the tiremaker and plans to make a tender offer to other investors for their shares, according to a separate statement issued on Monday.

The deal, which values Pirelli at around 7.1 billion euros, calls for ChemChina to hold a controlling stake of at least 50.1 percent of Pirelli in the end, Bloomberg News reported.

ChemChina and Camfin agreed to maintain “stability” in Pirelli’s operations and management through the process, the ChemChina statement said.

A Camfin statement said: “The headquarters and know-how of Pirelli will remain in Italy.”

It added that a very large majority of shareholders would be needed for the company to be moved overseas, with Italian media saying that would mean getting the agreement of 80 percent of shareholders.

Chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera is to stay on as chief executive of the group with the Chinese side naming a new chairman of the board. “The partnership with a global player like ChemChina . . . represents a big opportunity for Pirelli,” he said.

ChemChina chairman Ren Jianxin said the deal would allow the partners to continue to build a world leader in the tire industry.

AFP

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